France vs Denmark Live : France and Denmark played out a 0-0 draw at the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday to round out Group C play, giving each a beneficial point. With the point, France wins Group C with seven points, while the point for the Danes clinched a spot in the next round as the runner-up of the group.
For 37 games, the one certainty at this World Cup had been goals. Every game had produced at least one: a powerful header, a slick backheel, a well-shaped free kick. Mexican goals and Brazilian goals and lots and lots of Russian, Belgian and English goals.
Every team had scored at least one, save Costa Rica and Peru. And then the Peruvians put two past Australia to join the club on their way out the door on Tuesday, leaving only Costa Rica with 90 minutes left to break the seal.
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But through it all, the tournament had not produced a single scoreless tie — until Tuesday, when France and Denmark slogged through 90 torpid minutes at the Luzhniki Stadium here, and the streak — the longest without a 0-0 tie to start a World Cup in its history — was over.
Not that the French, who had already clinched a spot in the round of 16, or the Danes for that matter, will complain. Their 0-0 draw, combined with Peru’s 2-0 win over Australia, sent France through to the knockout round as the group winner, with Denmark as the runner-up.“What we wanted tonight was to get in the round of 16 and get to the top of the group, and this is what we managed,” said France’s pint-size midfield destroyer N’Golo Kanté, whose selection as man of the (drowsy) match was perhaps the best symbol of how the 90 minutes had gone.
France will now play the Group D runner-up — Argentina — on Saturday in Kazan. Denmark, meanwhile, gets an extra day of rest, a shorter trip and then a game against unbeaten Croatia in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday. Afterward, Denmark seemed content with the way it advanced.
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“We just needed one point, right?” Denmark Coach Age Hareide said. “We were up against one of the best teams in the world at counterattacks, and we would have been stupid to open up spaces. So we played back whenever we could.”
A first half of rare chances gave way to a second half with almost none. By the hour mark, the crowd of 78,000 plus had turned on both teams, whistling loudly when first France, and then Denmark, shuffled the ball around midfield, showing little intent. When Antoine Griezmann, France’s best scoring threat, went off in the 68th minute, the crowd greeted his departure with more jeers.
The match had promised much better: France had been annoyed by some pre-World Cup digs by Hareide, who had dismissed its players as “nothing special” and “unable to play as a team” in an interview comparing this France team to the country’s 1998 World Cup champions. He had even taken a shot at France’s star midfielder Paul Pogba, joking that he spent far more time on his hairstyles than he should.“It is not nice for him to say that,” France’s coach, Didier Deschamps, had said a day before the game, adding: “My players know and remember what he said.”
And in addition to that motivation, the French had seemed to find their footing with two wins in its first two games, Meanwhile, Denmark could have won the group outright with a victory. It even came out on Tuesday with more fire, as Martin Braithwaite twice sliced through into the penalty area on the right in the match’s opening minutes.
But without Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and Kylian Mbappé to press the French attack — they were held out of the lineup by Deschamps for rest or, at least in Pogba’s case, to avoid a yellow-card suspension in the next round — and with Peru taking out the Australians early in Sochi, the game in Moscow quickly descended into what appeared to be a willing stalemate, the kind of match remembered for the play of Kanté, not goal-creators like Griezmann and Denmark’s Christian Eriksen.
“It’s not been a very exciting match at the end, because the Danish team was O.K. with having a draw because they would qualify,” Deschamps said afterward in acknowledging the obvious. “One point for the draw was good enough for them, and we didn’t have to take risks to do better because this result was good for everyone.”
And so the teams danced instead. And when Denmark ran up the white flag for real, passing between its center backs for a full 30 seconds in the 85th minute, the boos and whistles were louder than the anticipatory cheers for the anthems two hours earlier. But sometimes fans don’t get what they want.
On Tuesday, only France and Denmark did.